Reduce your exposure to air pollution
Air pollution is a problem. It won’t go away until politicians and the car industry come together with a plan to make truly clean travel possible for everyone. In the meantime we can protect ourselves and the ones we love by taking steps to reduce our exposure to air pollution.
- Check the daily air pollution forecasts around where you live. There is a national map here and Londoners can sign up to pollution alerts here.
- Cycle or walk? Even when pollution is low it is still best to avoid polluted roads. Try to find quiet back roads.
- Using pram covers can help to stop children being exposed to harmful particles.
- Get informed – read the Government’s advice on what to do on high pollution days. You can find out if you should avoid exercising outdoors. There are recommendations that say to stay indoors – but only on extremely high pollution days.
- Clean the air with gardening. Plants are fantastic for reducing toxins and some pollutants. Even NASA recommends them! Find out which air purifying plant is right for your home.
When cycling and walking isn’t always an option.
- If you have to drive, you can reduce exposure by not leaving your engine running when stationary (“idling”).
- You can reduce traffic where you live by carpooling and combining trips.
If you work at a nursery or school, or have children of your own – there are even more ways you can support national and local work to cut down air pollution.
- You can get children walking to school with walking buses. There’s an app which helps parents organise them http://crocodile.org.uk/
- Bring learning about air pollution into the classroom by encouraging your school to adapt these Clean Air Kits for schools and Greenpeace’s Teacher’s Pack.
- Something as simple as ‘greening’ can make a real difference to the air quality in the classroom and the playground. Growing trees and plants is a great activity for children, and it helps to naturally filter the air.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to parents and teachers – get a clean air for kids conversation going! Waltham Forest Cares About Clean Air group are doing amazing things and they started with a conversation!
- Want to go further? There are some great campaigns you can start; You can make a radical change like moving school entrances away from busy roads. If that isn’t possible, a campaign most people can get behind is reducing traffic and stopping idling around or outside schools. Ask your local council to invest in monitoring air around your nursery and schools.
These are our top tips, what are yours? Comment below to tell us what your are doing to clean up the air in your community.